“iPhone plus”

Interesting speculation from Marco Arment. I have to admit, these larger screen devices are selling better than what I would have ever guessed.

  • So AAPL should make one bigger just so they don’t miss those sales?

    • Aenean144

      When a market is commoditized, you have to branch out to address more and more of the market. It is inevitable.

      The smartphone market has over 50% penetration everywhere and maybe close to 60% in the USA. There’s nowhere else to go with smartphones but for the niches. After 6 years of rapid evolution, all the fundamental bases have been covered.

      So, yeah, like Apple has multiple sized iPods, MacBooks and iMacs, it’s going to come to iPhones. It’s amazing that Apple made 2 sizes of iPads before iPhones.

      • Not really. The use cases for different laptop, iPod and iMacs is well established. Ever more ridiculous screen size increases is just a trend amongst Apple’s competition in their mad rush to differentiate themselves any way possible.

        • JohnDoey

          There have been 2 sizes of iPod since 2004, and that continues today. iPod nano just needs a phone chip.

      • JohnDoey

        The 2 sizes of iPhone are 3.5/4 inch and 2.5 inch, which you see on iPod nano right now.

  • It would have been really funny if Jim has just said “Nope”.

  • D Pauw

    I’m still not sure why these devices exist and the ads don’t help explain it either (e.g. the ad with the one employee sharing an excel spreadsheet that he made on it using that silly NFC tap feature…apparently we are to believe that a business can be run from a couple of extremely large phones).

  • lkalliance

    I go back and forth on stuff like this. I use Apple products. I’m bought into the ecosystem. So my only need is for that ecosystem to continue to exist. Apple’s only need is to make money. So long as both of those needs are being met, everyone is happy in my corner of the universe.

    So the question becomes, what would have to happen for the ecosystem to go away? For Apple to pack it in and abandon all the people who have already purchased iPhones/iPads/Macs/etc.? Is there a market share point (really a total sales point) beyond which they wouldn’t?

    I’m pretty confident that whatever that point is, it’s probably a long long way away. So I’m not too concerned about whether Apple makes a larger phone or not, given that I’m perfectly happy with my 4S.

  • I thought it was pretty funny how his reference to making fun of these larger phones just linked directly to this blog. Can’t wait for the review!

  • Player_16

    I’d hate to get to my car, take out my keys, take out my phone from me pocket (IF it fits) and get in. I don’t wear cargo trousers that often and I tend to wonder about those ‘hipsters’ that like narrow trousers; what do they do?

    • I think one of the key takeaways from Marco’s assessment is that he figures the “iPhone Plus” won’t be a replacement for the current iPhone size, but something offered in addition to it (incidentally, making the “plus” moniker all the more fitting). So hipsters and folks like yourself needn’t worry.

      • Player_16

        Well let’s hope not. Just make it pricy otherwise.

      • JohnDoey

        Marco does not think it will happen. He is right.

        • normm

          The median age in the US is 37 years, with many states having a median age over 40. The market for a “large print” iPhone is significant, and probably includes most of Apple’s leadership.

  • Considering Apple makes every other product they sell in 2 sizes, I don’t see why the iPhone should be any different.

    So choice in itself it’s anything new to Apple- there’s a big difference between 2 device options and a dozen.

    That said, I wonder if the logical conclusion to these ever-escalating phone sizes is simply to start putting the cellular guts in an iPad mini, and assume that a person is going to use a bluetooth headset with it.

    • JohnDoey

      iPod nano is running the second size handheld screen already.

  • Dmitri

    Here’s my N=1: I’m holding on to my iPhone 4 because I’m specifically waiting for an iphone with a much larger screen, like Marco describes. I constantly find myself wishing my iphone’s screen was a lot bigger. It’s the one thing android phones have that I covet.

    A 4.9inch iphone in my pocket? I’d be a day one buyer. Perhaps I’m not the only one who would.

    • JohnDoey

      Get an iPad mini. Seriously. If you need something bigger than an iPhone — that is an iPad mini, with PC apps and full-size Web views.

      Or get a 5-inch phone to try. It is a joke. You will regret it 10 times away like all the other suckers.

    • JoshuaHulgan

      Seriously. Listen to JohnDoey. Spend $1000 on two devices. Carry around both. How could you possibly know what you want?

  • BC2009

    I think an iPhone Plus has a market with older folks who have bad eyesight. Ironically, that is the market that Samsung tries to paint as “people who use Apple” in order to make it uncool.

    But I know lots of older folks with iPhones at church and they have their font sizes on-screen cranked way up which makes the layout of things like email just look ugly.

    These people could not care less about pixel density — they just want bigger text. They want to be able to hold the phone at the right distance for their eyes to focus on it without glasses without cranking the font size way up.

    The iPhone Plus would target that crowd really well since iOS is already easy to use and free of hassles. I would buy iPhone Plus for my parents. But, personally, I want a small pocketable phone that is easy to handle while I am holding on to one of my kid’s hands.

    • Bob


      My aunt, a former iPhone user, bought one of these solely for this reason. “Bigger” is easier for her to see.

      • JohnDoey

        It is easier to see an iPhone because the graphics are so much sharper.

        • normm

          He’s talking about the market for people with older, non-accommodating eyes. The ones who buy large-print books. It’s a real market.

  • Now that the iPad mini is a real thing, I think an iPhone Plus is more plausible than ever.

    • JohnDoey

      I think the opposite. Now that you can get a mini, there is no need for a larger iPhone. The mini runs full-size PC apps and it is only a little bigger than the ridiculous iPhone Plus.

      You can hold your iPhone a few centimeters closer to your face and you get an iPhone Plus. Try it.

  • The day that any of Apple’s competition releases real numbers and category breakdowns, I will believe their claims to fame.Even then, this is still the same one way conversation to Apple many had regarding netbooks.

  • “The iPhone has lost a significant number of sales by buyers either wanting a larger screen or being drawn to how much better the large screens look in stores.” Says who? Got any data to back that up, Marco? Because I got this: “Apple became the number one mobile phone vendor (in the US) for the first time ever, capturing a record 34 percent market share.”

    • Zeatrix

      I don’t know about “significant” but I have several friends who have switched to Android and the main reason they’ve told me is “The iPhone screen is too small”. This is Sweden, maybe the same trend isn’t happening in the states but the screen size is certainly an issue here.

    • Yes, and they just squeezed past the previous number one vendor, Samsung, who still experienced growth and are still commanding a huge portion of the market at 32 percent (to Apple’s 34). Samsung are those guys who make the phones that look and act a lot like iPhones, only with bigger screens. How do you not see the connection?

      • JohnDoey

        Samsung makes the CHEAP copies of iPhone. That is why they sell: CHEAP. The size is irrelevant.

        You made the classic mistake of thinking “people are buying big phones — must be because they like big phones.” No. The big phones are cheap. The small phones (iPhone) are expensive.

        • And you’re making the classic mistake of thinking “people are buying cheaper phones, must be because they are cheaper.”

          Of all the people I know who switched from iPhone to Samsung, none mentioned price as a consideration. Screen size was mentioned in every case.

          While I don’t expect Apple to compete on price, they have been known to compete on form factor. They did so just recently with the iPad mini.

      • It’s not a matter of me not seeing the connection. It’s a matter of Marco making a statement of fact with no date shown to back it up.

        I’m not saying he’s wrong. I’m saying, “show me the data”. Big difference.

        It’s hard to believe that “the iPhone has lost a significant number of sales” when Apple themselves say they can’t make the phones fast enough to accommodate all the demand. If it’s true, it’s interesting. But I’m not going to believe it’s true simply based on some blogger’s say so.

        • You certainly don’t have to believe it and he’s not even asking you to do so. He’s clearly and openly speculating, saying that it’s possible he could end up looking back at how wrong he is, so asking him to show you data to back up his statement is kind of pointless.

          • “He’s clearly and openly speculating…”

            Sorry but “The iPhone has lost a significant number of sales…” is not “speculation”. It’s a statement of fact. Only on the internet do facts not have to be backed up with data. 🙂

            I’m not talking about his overall speculation. I’m talking about a data point he’s using to bolster is argument.

            Look at it this way – if he’s wrong about Apple losing sales due to people leaving for larger Android phones, then his argument fails to stand up to scrutiny, correct?

            And if he’s right, it’s a very interesting fact I haven’t heard anywhere else.

          • I guess we’re reading it differently. When I read his piece I took it all as speciation based on observation. If he was trying to bolster a point with a fact, I would have expected him to use actual facts based on actual data, like you’ve asked of him.

            It just seemed like a given to me that he was having some fun entertaining a fun idea. I didn’t think it needed to be challenged on the level of “back it up or back it off” so to speak.

  • JohnDoey

    The reason they are selling is because they are cheap.

    iPhone 5 outsells all 5 inch phones put together.

    • JoshuaHulgan

      Remind me again which one of those 5 inch devices is under $500 unsubsidized?